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August 8, 2023 – TAG extends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Dr. Stephaun Elite Wallace, PhD, MS. Dr. Wallace was a treasure to all who knew and worked with him, and his legacy of mentorship and community engagement in the HIV research landscape will be felt for generations.

Black man smiling at camera, wearing a blue and white gingham shirtAs Director of External Relations with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), a powerful leader in the house and ballroom community, among several other roles and positions, Dr. Wallace’s dedication to elevating communities most heavily affected by HIV globally was undeniable and resonated far and wide. When he spoke, people listened, learned, and were inspired. And he could always be counted on to step up unflinchingly whenever called upon to advance our collective efforts of promoting the universal promise of biomedical research, with a focus on equitable access and meaningful involvement of communities every step of the way.

TAG HIV Project Director Riko A. Boone, MPH, MSW, MA, said, “Dr. Wallace was an outstanding colleague and friend. I’m so immensely grateful to have known, worked with and befriended him since we first met nearly a decade ago. With his passing we have lost a relentless champion of health equity and steadfast partner in pursuit of social justice, but with his life we have gained so much wisdom, courage and hope for a world that sees an end to the HIV pandemic that includes a universally accessible vaccine. We honor his extensive contributions to public health and remain motivated in our efforts toward making this vision become a reality.”

Prioritizing health equity and social justice were hallmarks of Dr. Wallace’s leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when he oversaw the leveraging of HVTN’s community engagement infrastructure for development and implementation of the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), to help ensure that vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 were rapidly developed via inclusive clinical trials and equitably disseminated. He believed, as do we, that a world without inequities is achieved by shining a light on and learning from past injustices, while simultaneously fighting to resolve pervasive current global inequities in the medical and research spaces.

TAG Executive Director Mark Harrington stated, “Dr. Wallace leaves a powerful legacy of leadership with the communities most affected by HIV and COVID-19. We mourn his loss, extend our condolences to his family, friends, and those he mentored, and we commit to carry his vision forward in our work.”

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